As the Clinton campaign once said, "It's the economy, stupid!" This is the primary issue with which any candidate has to deal.
“I believe that America's free market has been the engine of America's great progress. It's created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It's led to a standard of living unmatched in history. And it has provided great rewards to the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery…We are all in this together. From CEOs to shareholders, from financiers to factory workers, we all have a stake in each other's success because the more Americans prosper, the more America prospers.” - Barack Obama
The great irony is Obama can tell HOW we developed a strong economy, and yet he plans to restrain the free market as much as possible.
Following are the problems as the website describes them, and Obama's solutions.
PROBLEM:"While wages remain flat, the costs of basic necessities are increasing. The cost of in-state college tuition has grown 35 percent over the past five years. Health care costs have risen four times faster than wages over the past six years. And the personal savings rate is now the lowest it's been since the Great Depression." - Obama's website
SOLUTION(S): I will give Obama credit for attacking the economic problems on multiple fronts. Unfortunately, his ideas range from the same old sorry liberal ideas we have heard for decades (i.e. raise the minimum wage, more unions, more paid leave for workers, and more federal funding for education and job training programs), to brand new bad ideas. For example:
"Obama will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes. Obama will ensure that the IRS uses the information it already gets from banks and employers to give taxpayers the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return. Experts estimate that the Obama proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees." - Obama's website
And when the IRS screws up my tax forms, who gets held liable for it? I thought so.
"Obama believes that NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people. Obama will work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to fix NAFTA so that it works for American workers." - Obama's website
That's all well and good, but we are losing jobs to China and India, which brings us to:
"Obama will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs. He will use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards around the world and stand firm against agreements like the Central American Free Trade Agreement that fail to live up to those important benchmarks. Obama will also pressure the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports. - Obama's website
This is great, but he will actually have to get other countries to agree to this. Exactly how does he plan to bribe them?
"The Obama comprehensive energy independence and climate change plan will invest in America's highly-skilled manufacturing workforce and manufacturing centers to ensure that American workers have the skills and tools they need to pioneer the first wave of green technologies that will be in high demand throughout the world." - Obama's website
"America's highly-skilled manufacturing workforce"? You mean the one in India?
The fact is that if you want to improve the economy, there are other ways besides Obama's "quick fix" solutions. We can start with improved basic education, not just offering retraining to workers who have already been ruined by our pitiful public education (more about his plans for that later).
Another way is to reduce unnecessary government regulations on businesses, especially small businesses. Unfortunately, Obama plans to INCREASE these regulations:
The [Family and Medical Leave Act] covers only certain employees of employers with 50 or more employees. Obama will expand it to cover businesses with 25 or more employees. He will expand the FMLA to cover more purposes as well, including allowing workers to take leave for elder care needs; allowing parents up to 24 hours of leave each year to participate in their children's academic activities; and expanding FMLA to cover leave for employees to address domestic violence. - Obama's website
In other words, let's hit even smaller businesses with more government regulations and expenses. This will make it even harder for smaller businesses to grow and compete with larger businesses. Keep in mind that larger businesses have the income to be able to handle more government regulation. This kind of burden placed on small businesses actually PROTECTS big businesses from competition. This goes against the free market which Obama himself has said made this country great. He is either an idiot or a liar (or both).
Most of Obama's education plan is fairly uneventful. Although one thing did strike me:
"Obama's comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, Obama's plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state "zero to five" efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school." - Obama's website
How long before we see a Democratic candidate promising government-funded prenatal educational cd's?
Seriously though, at what point will parents be responsible for raising their kids? With ideas like this, you will get to hold your child for two minutes after birth, then they will be off to school!
Even more seriously, why would we hand our kids over EARLIER to an educational system that doesn't work NOW?
Obama was clearly against the Iraq War from the beginning, claiming:
"I thought our priority had to be finishing the fight in Afghanistan. I spoke out against what I called "a rash war' in Iraq. I worried about, ‘an occupation of undetermined length, with undetermined costs, and undetermined consequences.’ The full accounting of those costs and consequences will only be known to history. But the picture is beginning to come into focus." - Barack Obama
Even though Obama promises to get our troops out of Iraq "within 16 months", he leaves himself an out:
"[Obama] will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda." - Obama's website
In other words, you can expect our troops to be in Iraq for some time to come. Don't believe me? Check out this idea from Obama:
"Obama believes that America has a moral and security responsibility to confront Iraq’s humanitarian crisis — two million Iraqis are refugees; two million more are displaced inside their own country. Obama will form an international working group to address this crisis. He will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries, and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe-haven." - Obama's website
Exactly HOW do you "ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe-haven"? Pull out the military and throw money at the problem! Brilliant!
To be continued...